Composites, metals see lighter future together

"The Farmer and the Cowman Shall Be Friends" is one of the memorable songs from the Rogers and Hammerstein classic musical "Oklahoma."

It seems like a plastics-industry version may be playing out next week at the 13th annual Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE), organized by the Automotive and Composites Divisions of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). It will be held Sept. 11-13 at The Diamond Banquet & Conference Center at the Suburban Collection Showplace, in Novi, MI.

A keynote speaker from Alcoa, famous for working hard to protect its materials' turf in aircraft and transportation applications, will deliver a talk titled "The Multimaterial Reality". The speaker, Mario Greco, Director-Ground Transportation Market Sector Team, Growth & Market Strategy, at Alcoa, will then join a panel discussion titled: "Aluminum & Composites - Compete or Collaborate?"

The panelists are all top notch:  Jay Baron, Center for Automotive Research (CAR); Jim deVries, Ford Motor Co.; Doug Richman, Kaiser Aluminum; Martin Starkey, Gurit Automotive Ltd.; Jai Venkatesan, The Dow Chemical Co.; and Greco.

The panel will continue a discussion begun during last year on "Design and Assembly of the Multi-Material Car".

This year's meeting has moved to a much larger facility to accommodate a bigger crowd--more than 700 are expected. Part of the draw is an expanded technical program, 91 presentations compared to a previous high of 68.

It will surely once again be a go-to forum for topics such as what's happening with carbon composites, emerging types of reinforcement materials, and simulation approaches.  Plastics Today broke news at last year's conference on new manufacturing technology from Plasan and a new pulp-based reinforcement developed by Weyerhaeuser.

Details of the conference are available here.

I enjoy almost all of the SPE technical conferences I attend, but some can devolve into technical minutia that  as dry as dust. ACCE offers multi tracks for every taste, and its panel discussion are consistently a lively highlight.


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